Garnock in 59 Point Thriller
Garnock in a One Point Game
(Reported by Tom Dickson)
Last Saturday Garnock hosted Kilmarnock Rugby Club in a “Double Header” rugby match. Not only were vital league points at stake but the winners would also take possession of the Brian Gilbert Memorial Trophy for the next year.
The outcome of the game was in doubt right up until the final whistle and in the end one single point separated the sides of a tense exciting encounter.
Garnock kicked off towards the Kilbirnie end of Lochshore which was slightly wet but sure underfoot. The weather was ideal for open rugby and the large crowd were vociferous in their support from the start.
The play was scrappy for the first couple of minutes. Kilmarnock were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch at Garnock’s 22 metre line. Winning the lineout, they powered towards the try line and Sam Diamond was on hand to score at the posts. Scott Brown converted and with only 3 minutes played, Kilmarnock moved into a lead of 0 – 7.
Play then settled down with both squads trading penalties but without troubling the scorer.
In the 13th minute Garnock scored a try when Alan Miller broke through in loose play ably supported by the rest of the pack. The ball was driven towards the Kilmarnock line and Matt Shiells was in the right place to drive over for a try. Rory Walker converted to make it a tie at 7 points each.
In the 18th minute Kilmarnock’s Graham McCue scored near the touchline after a good handling movement and some poor Garnock defence. The conversion was missed and the score became 7 – 12.
With 26 minutes played Garnock moved into the lead after Walker’s penalty kick to touch eight meters out was won by Jonny Watson, driven onward by the supporting pack to set up Shiells for his second try of the match. Walker converted to make it 14 – 12 to the home side.
Ten minutes later Garnock fielded a ball well inside their own half. They elected to run the ball out of defence through Chrissy Neill, Keir Walker and Jared Reekie. At the Kilmarnock 10 metre line they released right winger Fraser Brocket who rounded the covering defenders to score his debut try near the touchline. The conversion was missed and the score became 19 – 12.
On the stroke of half time Brown converted a penalty to make it 19 – 15 at the break.
The second half continued as the first with both sides trying to run the ball at every opportunity but with both defences tackling well. In the 47th minute the Garnock defence was breached when Tom Steven scored near the posts. Brown converted and Killie led 19 – 22.
Worse was to befall Garnock when, against the run of play, Chris Milligan was allowed to run in and score well out. The kick was missed and Kilmarnock moved ominously ahead at 19 – 27.
However Garnock rallied and from a Neill kick for position the ball was fumbled by a Kilmarnock player and Jared Reekie kicked through to win the chase and score near the touchline to make it 24 – 27 and set up a pulsating last 17 minutes.
With 8 minutes to go Walker kicked a penalty to the Killie line. He found touch 10 metres out. Alan Miller won the lineout. The Garnock pack drove toward the score line and Graeme Reid touched down near the touchline to put the home side in front at 29 – 27.
Two minutes left and Garnock were forced to defend close to their try line. Unfortunately, they were penalised by the referee and Brown kicked the resulting penalty to put Kilmarnock in front at 29 – 30.
For the remainder of the game Garnock tried to increase their score but time ran out with Kilmarnock the victors of the league points and they retained the Brian Gilbert Trophy.
The two league points secured by Garnock were enough to take them off the bottom spot in the league positions.
Next Saturday (16th) Garnock have no scheduled league fixture.
The Garnock squad was (1 -18) : John Miller, Grant Ruxton, Fraser Miller, Alan Miller, Jonny Watson, Graeme Reid, David Ramsay Miller, Matt Shiells, Keir Walker, Chrissy Neill, Tony Woods, Rory Walker, Jared Reekie, Fraser Brocket, Ally Anderson, Andrew Mitchell, David Miller and Richard O’Neill